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22 days of healing and reconciliation

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

For 22 days, from the start of the closing event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa on May 31 to National Aboriginal Day on June 21, Canadian Anglicans are being asked to share what they are doing to promote healing and reconciliation.     Photo: Courtesy of Anglican Church of Canada


Anglicans across Canada are being called to demonstrate in the 22 days following the closing event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that this ending is only the beginning of healing and reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald issued a call to the whole church today to participate in #22days, a campaign that will stretch from the start of the closing TRC event in Ottawa on May 31 to National Aboriginal Day on June 21.

First conceived of by a group of cathedral deans from cities in which a national TRC event was held and “heartily endorsed” by the House of Bishops,

Anglicans are being called to take time during the 22 days to participate in a range of activities. They include listening to the story of a survivor of Indian residential schools, praying for all those affected by the “long shadows” of the schools, ringing church bells for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, considering how they might continue the work of restoring right relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, and sharing stories of their own commitments and efforts to support healing and reconciliation.

Hiltz said in an interview that it was “a very significant moment” at the meeting of the House of Bishops last week in Niagara Falls, Ont., when he saw all the bishops get behind this call. “Hopefully, it is another sign to the TRC and to Indigenous people that our church is serious about its ongoing work beyond supporting the mandate of the TRC itself.”

MacDonald said that he was “really pleased that the cathedral deans and others came together and wanted to signal that we are moving into a new phase of truth and reconciliation.” He added that although there were invitations for Anglicans to attend and participate in past TRC events, he felt that this call—“when we are all ringing bells”—has a different character. “I pray and believe [that] it will be a real taking to heart what we have learned and what we still need to do.”

Henriette Thompson, General Synod’s director of public witness for social and ecological justice, said that #22days is an opportunity to really get the attention of the church. “It is hitching its energy to the closing events, [which] themselves will attract a lot of mainstream media and attention, and [it is] speaking directly to our church.”

Dean Shane Parker of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa said the campaign had its genesis at a meeting he convened with Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada. All the deans of cathedrals in cities where national TRC events have been held over the last six years were invited. “We were wondering what cathedrals could do since…many of our churches are in prominent places and our role tends to be one that intersects very much with civic society.” Picking up on one of the closing event’s themes that the ending of the TRC is only the beginning, they decided to encourage cathedrals to do some specific things during the 22-day period between the beginning of the event and National Aboriginal Day.

Parker explained that they thought it was important to let each cathedral and community find an expression that was appropriate to its context. “Not everyone is at the same place on the truth and reconciliation journey,” he said, adding that in some places, the actions taken may be basic education and awareness-raising events about the history and legacy of residential schools. “In other places, it may be much deeper. So for example, [you could] find out what treaty land your church is built on or who are your local Aboriginal leaders? Why not pray for them when you pray for your municipal leaders?”

Dean Peter Elliott of Christ Church Cathedral, diocese of New Westminster, said renovations to the cathedral put its congregation in the unusual position of not being able to use their building during the 22 Days. So on May 31, the congregation will join with other churches in downtown Vancouver for joint worship “and we hope a major community gathering,” he said. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Baptists and members of the United Church will work together to have two services—one in the morning, one in the afternoon—focused on reconciliation and prayer, to coincide with the beginning of the TRC.

“My hope is that we’ll multiply the number of Anglicans who are aware of and have a sense that they can participate in and contribute something to the need for reconciliation and healing in our country,” said Thompson. “I think that this is a national issue. It’s not just a church issue and it is certainly not just an Indigenous issue.”

To accommodate efforts across the country, the General Synod communications team has created a web page—22days.ca—that will offer resources, including 22 videos featuring former residential school students describing their experiences in the schools as well as some former staff talking about their time in the schools.

The video testimonies have been gleaned from Anglican Video’s extensive archive of interviews with former residential school students. Senior producer Lisa Barry said she hopes the videos will help Anglicans understand and connect with the experiences of survivors, many of whom experienced physical and sexual abuse as children in the schools, beyond the systemic abuses that included punishment for speaking their own languages and enforced, lengthy separation from their families.  “What I heard repeatedly from people who had attended TRC hearings was that before, they might not have been clued in, but when they went and heard stories of survivors of residential schools, that’s what struck a chord,” said Barry.

Barry noted that all of the people interviewed expressly asked that their stories be shared, in the hopes that they would help others. The videos are not the typical sort of “30-second sound bytes” people are used to viewing on television; they are about 15 to 20 minutes each, in order to tell the stories in a more whole and sensitive way, said Barry. “We hope people will stay with them.” One video will be added daily to the website during the 22-day period. Each video will be also accompanied by a prayer, written by various people in the church, including Hiltz and MacDonald.

The web page will also offer 22 suggestions for ways that people can participate and share what they are doing through their social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, using the hashtag #22days. General Synod web manager Brian Bukowski explained that instead of hosting all of the submissions on the anglican.ca page, the site will use a tool that “scours the Internet for the hashtag” and brings in all the visuals from postings on a virtual wall. “The power of it, though, is [that] because they’ll be sharing it in their own social networks, all their friends will see it…people will be tagging and sharing on their own network [and] it becomes exponential.”

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Anglican Journal News, April 20, 2015

Statement on the #22days campaign

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which has addressed the sad legacy of the Indian Residential Schools will hold its final event, the closing ceremonies of its six-year tenure, in Ottawa for four days commencing on Sunday, May 31st.

The daily themes are as follows:

Day 1 is “We are all in this together”;
Day 2, “We still have lots to learn”;
Day 3, “Reconciliation means respect and change”;
and Day 4, “This ending is only the beginning”.

In the spirit of the 4th-day theme, we are calling our Church into “22 Days” of prayer and renewal in our commitments to healing and reconciliation among all people – the Indigenous Peoples of this land and all others who have come and settled and also call it home. These 22 Days will take us to the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer, on Sunday, June 21st.

Inspired by a conversation among a number of Cathedral Deans in dioceses where the TRC held National Events, and with the support of a number of General Synod staff, this call is heartily endorsed by the national House of Bishops.

Together we are calling the Church to take time in each of these 22 Days.

  • to listen to the story of a survivor of Residential Schools.

These stories are on a specially created 22 Days website (22days.ca). The telling and hearing of stories has been at the very heart of all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Gatherings – stories of loneliness and abuse, trauma and shame, struggle and courage, resilience and hope. Each story you hear is accompanied by a prayer by which you can hold the emotions and hopes of the story-teller and those of your own before God.

  • to pray for all those affected by the long shadows of Residential Schools.

Pray for all who still suffer the memory of being stripped of their dignity, name, language, and culture. Pray for all who suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Pray for those who struggle with addictions and thoughts of suicide. Pray for those caught up in domestic violence. Pray for missing and murdered aboriginal women. Pray for all who perpetuate racial hatred that they might experience a conversion of mind and change of heart. Pray for all who work amidst the suffering of indigenous peoples on reserves and in the downtown core of so many cities in the country.

  • to ring church bells for the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

In cathedrals and churches across Canada to ring bells for each of the 1017 indigenous women and girls murdered between 1980 and 2012 and for the 105 indigenous women and girls classified by the RCMP as missing in suspicious circumstances,1122 in total. To ring bells in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples in their cry for justice and for a special commission. Bells could be rung on National Aboriginal Day; 11 days out of the 22 days: or every day for 22 days.

  • to consider our steadfastness on the long journey to reconciliation in this country.

Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said that just as it took several generations to bring about the existing patterns of broken relations with Indigenous Peoples, it will take several to restore and nurture right relations based on mutual respect. He has reminded the churches of our special responsibility in this work. In part his words acknowledge work done to date and in part they constitute a charge to continue that work with unwavering resolve.

  • to consider our commitment as a Church to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in their cry for justice.

The issues are many – from inadequate housing to prohibitory expensive nutritious food and lack of clean running water, from a need for increased police and protection services to the enhancement of comprehensive health care, from equal funding for public education to free, prior, and informed consent with respect to resource extraction. How are we standing with Indigenous Peoples? With whom are we speaking to address the crisis that is consuming so many indigenous communities?

  • to post your own stories of learning and witness to the call to renewed relations with The First Peoples of this land.

They can be posted to the 22 Days Website wall. I encourage you to plaster it!

One story that will be posted early is the creation of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice. It is charged with helping our Church to understand the doctrine of discovery, a doctrine that deeply influenced the colonial agenda, including a federal government policy of assimilating Indigenous Peoples through the Indian Residential Schools. The Commission is charged with helping our Church to embrace more fully the work of reconciliation entrusted to us through the Gospel of Christ. It is charged with helping our Church in its work of advocacy in the long struggle for justice for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada.

In these 22 Days between the Closing Event for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and National Aboriginal Day, we invite one and all to join us in labouring for that for which we pray, saying

In speaking and hearing and acting upon the Truth
may we as individuals and as a nation
meet the hope of a new beginning.
Great Creator God
who desires that all creation live in harmony and peace,
Remembering the Children
we dare to dream of a Path of Reconciliation
where apology from the heart leads to healing of the heart
and the chance of restoring the circle,
        where justice walks with all,
        where respect leads to true partnership,
        where the power to change comes from each heart.
Hear our prayer of hope,
and guide this country of Canada
on a new and different path. Amen.

– Prayer from “Remembering the Children” Church Leaders Tour,  March 2008

 

Signature - Fred

 

 

Fred. J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

 

mark-web

 

 

Mark L. MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop

Visit the 22 Days website.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 20, 2015

Earth Day time to focus on climate justice, say leaders

Posted on: April 18th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Archbishop Fred Hiltz and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the ELCIC lead an event on water issues on Parliament Hill as part of the 2013 Joint Assembly. Photo: Art Babych


Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), have issued a joint statement in anticipation of Earth Day 2015, to be observed April 22.

The statement calls on Anglicans and Lutherans to put aside time during this Easter season to reflect on the multifaceted issue of climate justice. Further, it encourages members of both churches not simply to “speak a word of hope into the ecological crisis of our time,” but to actually “be that word of hope through our attitude toward the Earth and our actions—personal, ecclesial and political—in the interests of its healing and sustainability for our children and their children.”

In calling on congregations across Canada to take action on climate change, Hiltz and Johnson point to the commitment to tackle environmental issues made by both Anglicans and Lutherans at the 2013 Joint Assembly. They also note that care of the Earth is “our first calling as human beings.” The sacred nature of this calling, the statement said, is emphasized by the fact that “Creation—not for sale” will be one of the themes of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, while the Anglican Communion’s Marks of Mission include a pledge “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

The statement also points out that while climate change is almost exclusively driven by “the world’s rich minority,” the fallout has a disproportionate effect on the poor and the vulnerable, as well as the world’s myriad Indigenous peoples. It is the churches’ responsibility to “stand with Indigenous Peoples in their struggles…as resource extraction and transportation impact their traditional lands and ways of life,” they wrote.

In addition, Hiltz and Johnson note that Canadians bear a particular burden of responsibility, as Canadian companies are deeply involved in resource extraction and the energy sector, both at home and abroad.

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Anglican Journal News, April 17, 2015

Clergy question military mission in Iraq and Syria

Posted on: April 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Journal staff

Hayat Abdel Nasser (right) fled the conflict in Syria and took shelter in this refugee camp in Arbat, outside Sulaimaniya, in northern Iraq in 2013.     Photo: ACTAlliance/Sarah Malian


Leaders of 23 churches have written to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express concern about the government’s decision to expand the Canadian military mission against the extremist group ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The letter from members of the Canadian Council of Churches was signed by leaders including Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. It began by commending the government for recognizing the gravity of the situation. It acknowledged the fact that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has been responsible for “deliberate and massive violations of basic human rights including the displacement and murder of historic Christian communities and the targeting of other religious minorities…war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The church leaders added, however, that they “have serious questions” about how Canada is responding. Church partners in the region have expressed concerns that more violence “will foster new or renewed grievances, further fracturing the social fabric of Middle Eastern society and making the restoration of peace a more difficult task,” the letter explained.

“We are convinced that military efforts to end or limit the present atrocities must be accompanied by other steps,” the leaders wrote. They urged the government to “strengthen its diplomatic efforts, increase humanitarian assistance and support for refugees, support civil society organizations, control arms, and focus on the protection of the rule of law and respect for human rights especially through inclusive government structures in Iraq and Syria.”

Broader diplomatic work is needed, they added, in order to stop the flow of resources and weapons to ISIS and to build a comprehensive international political framework that is supported by countries in the region, the UN and international law.

The letter also commended the government’s efforts to assist refugees and those who are internally displaced in the region. In December, the government promised to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria and 3,000 from Iraq. The church leaders sought reassurance that that commitment is not at the expense of resettlement and support for refugees from other countries. “Members of our parishes and congregations across Canada, as well as other organizations and volunteers, are eagerly waiting to receive Iraqi and Syrian refugees,” they wrote, urging the government to consult with the Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association to discuss how to co-ordinate the Canadian response to the crisis.

“Our views are informed by deeply rooted beliefs in the sanctity of human life and dignity, the need to protect vulnerable people from atrocities, and cautions about the past effectiveness of international military interventions in the region,” they wrote. They added that they “pray for all the victims of this conflict, for those who will aid in their relief and resettlement, as well as our enemies, for we desire their good as well as our own.”

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Anglican Journal News, April 17, 2015

Church investors sign ecumenical letter calling for price on carbon

Posted on: April 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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carbon letter

Photo: Shutterstock

Leaders in the Anglican Church of Canada have joined counterparts from other denominations in signing a letter that urges the Canadian government to establish a basis for pricing carbon dioxide emissions.

Written on behalf of 53 religious institutional investors with combined assets of more than $2 billion, the letter is addressed to federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver and asks the Government of Canada to “establish mechanisms to set a clear, reliable and effective price for carbon emissions with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting catastrophic climate change.”

The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, signed the letter along with Bishop John H. Chapman of the Diocese of Ottawa.

Thompson said that the message of the letter was consistent with the Joint Assembly Declaration signed by Anglicans and Lutherans in 2013, which focused in part on the care of creation and responsible resource extraction.

“It’s both a profoundly spiritual issue in terms of our mandate as custodians and dwellers in the earth, and it’s also a profoundly pragmatic letter in terms of recognizing the consequences of uncertainty about the health of the future [and]…how we will be dealing with carbon,” he said.

“The expectation that businesses would voluntarily reduce their carbon use in a way that might make them less competitive, while others take a pass, seems a bit unlikely…This ought to be something that we as a society are doing together, not that we ask some people to volunteer sacrificially about.”

The letter, Thompson said, represents the desire of investors for “an investment climate in which there is a clear, consistent cost for the use of carbon energy.”

Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Director Henriette Thompson—who has worked closely with Paul Gehrs, assistant to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson, in implementing the Joint Declaration commitments—noted the timeliness of the letter to Oliver as provincial premiers co-ordinate efforts to fight climate change.

“As a national church…we share the view that it is really important for Canada to have a national voice and a national commitment that is really clear and compelling around climate change and our commitments to carbon reductions,” she said, adding that the letter recognizes the integration of economic and ecological concerns.

With a federal election slated to take place later in 2015, the Anglican Church of Canada is set to continue the dialogue on climate and resources as members strive to promote the common good through their democratic role as citizens.

Stressing that climate justice and resource extraction are not partisan issues, Michael Thompson expressed his hope that political leaders would heed the ecological concerns of Canadians.

“There’s a real attachment to the land for many Canadians,” he said. “We perhaps learned that from our First Hosts when Europeans first came to this country—that there’s something deeply spiritual about the land itself, and our relationship with it will say something about the quality of our spiritual lives. So I think it’s that deep an issue for us.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 17, 2015

Earth Day statement by the Primate and Bishop Johnson

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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EARTH DAY 2015 Statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Anglican Church of Canada, and National Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Photo of the Primate with Bishop Johnson

Earth Day—observed annually on April 22nd—falls this year in the midst of the Festival of Easter in which we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created…. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15–17)

As we rejoice in the splendour of God’s creation, we encourage you to make time this week to reflect on the complex challenges of climate justice and responsible resource extraction.

At the 2013 Joint Assembly, Anglicans and Lutherans made a commitment to address these issues and to discern ways we might be healers of the Earth. We call on all members and congregations across the country to take action together for the love of the world.

Let us remember our first calling as human beings is caring for the Earth. So sacred is this calling that as Lutherans worldwide mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017 with an overall theme “Liberated by God’s Grace,” one of the subthemes is “Creation—not for sale.” So sacred is this calling to Anglicans worldwide that they hold among their Marks of Mission a commitment “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.” This mark of mission is now reflected in the vows made in baptism.

On Earth Day we confess our sin in wreaking havoc upon the Earth. In our quest for its resources we have destroyed ecosystems. Human greed and overconsumption have driven our reckless behaviour. The world’s rich minority has come to enjoy levels of comfort and luxury at the horrible expense of creation and at a terrible price for the poor, those most affected by climate change. The number of environmental refugees increases. Many nations are calling upon political, economic, social, and religious leaders to address climate change as “the most urgent moral issue of our day.”

At home and abroad, Canadian companies are major players in resource extraction, energy, and related development projects. They generate wealth for our societies but they also give rise to serious and complex environmental, socio-economic, and human rights issues. Many of our global church partners, and members of our own churches, have called on us to address these issues as Canadian churches.

Let us ensure that those most affected by environmental degradation and resource extraction are heard. Let us stand with Indigenous Peoples in their struggles and honour the principles of free, prior and informed consent as resource extraction and transportation impact their traditional lands and ways of life.

On this Earth Day let us speak a word of urgency into global gatherings for climate talks in the lead-up
 to the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) in December in Paris. Church leaders meeting in South Africa in February urged Canadian and world leaders to work with haste towards “fair, ambitious, accountable and binding climate change agreements at national and international levels…(and)…to develop policies that genuinely assist climate refugees and promote mechanisms of entire governmental co-operation that ensures their human rights, safety and resettlement.”

Let us embrace the challenge to be healers of the Earth, ensuring its well-being is an integral part of the Christian witness. Let us not just speak a word of hope into the ecological crisis of our time but let us be that word of hope through our attitude toward the Earth and our actions—personal, ecclesial and political—in the interests of its healing and sustainability for our children and their children.

We recognize that these are long-term challenges that require time, patience, persistence, and commitment on our part. Our prayers help us to sustain each other and ground us in the truth of our reliance on God for all that we are and all that we do. Together, for the love of the world, let us continue to learn, raise awareness, act, advocate and pray.

The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. (Psalms 24:1)

Yours in Christ,

Fred H - Black

 

 

 

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Susan Johnson Signature

 

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 16, 2015

BC government donates $1 million to cathedral building campaign

Posted on: April 10th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver began construction preparations for its new roof last week. Photo: Randy Murray


Earlier this afternoon, the province of British Columbia announced it will give $1 million to Christ Church Cathedral’s building campaign, which is raising money to repair the cathedral’s roof, add a new bell tower and expand its community outreach kitchen.

“This generous grant recognizes the place that Christ Church Cathedral holds in Vancouver and British Columbia,” said Bishop Melissa Skelton of the diocese of New Westminster, “and will help ensure that the cathedral community continues to play a significant role in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of the people of Vancouver.”

The campaign, called “Raise the Roof, Ring the Bells, Feed the Hungry,” aims to raise $7.5 million for a “badly needed new roof” and “all-new illuminated glass bell spire,” and to double the size of its kitchen, which feeds 100 people a day during the coldest months of the year. Construction preparation on the project began last week.

Standing at the corner of Burrard and Georgia streets in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown, the cathedral is the city’s oldest surviving church. It has played a prominent role in the life of the city for much of its 127-year existence.

“Christ Church Cathedral has been enriching downtown Vancouver for more than a century,” said Sam Sullivan, the local MLA for Vancouver–False Creek and former mayor of the city, upon announcing the donation. “This expansion project will honour the church’s unique heritage while ensuring it can continue to feed the hungry and enhance the vibrancy and livability of our city.”

Dean Peter Elliott, the cathedral’s rector, agreed, noting the many forms of outreach in which Christ Church is involved. “It’s well-known; it’s well loved in the city,” he said. “But really, the most important legacy is that it is an active and growing Anglican congregation, inclusive in [its] outlook, a place where everyone is welcome, and from this place there is a regular daily feeding program for the poor and hungry of Vancouver’s downtown.”

With the province’s donation, the campaign—which was launched in June 2014—will have raised over $5.5 million. A donation of $2.5 million from the Jack and Darlene Poole Foundation gave the campaign an initial boost, and the congregation itself has donated $1.2 million. The final $2 million has yet to be raised.

The bulk of the money—$3.1 million—will go to a new zinc roof, projected to last up to 100 years. The spire and bells will cost $1.5 million, while $800,000 is earmarked for expansion of the kitchen. The remaining funds will go toward taxes, permits, administration, design, relocation costs and contingencies.

The bell tower is one of the most striking elements of the campaign: for 40 years, it has been a dream of the congregation, a dream that will now be embodied by Sarah Hall’s Welcoming Light, a series of glass-art panels that will cover a spire that holds four bells.

Hall “is drawing on the history of Christ Church from its early origins as being the tallest building in Vancouver,” Elliott explained. “In the late 19th–early 20th century… the tallest point [was Christ Church]. It was called the ‘light on the hill,’ because mariners [could] navigate using the cathedral as a point of reference. So she wanted to reference that, but even more importantly, make a statement about the inclusive, welcoming nature of this community.”

While a church’s decision to spend over a million dollars on something purely aesthetic might raise some eyebrows, Elliott sees the new spire as being a vital form of outreach.

“I think the Anglican tradition has a long history of being a champion of performing and visual artists,” he said. “There is, to the spiritual life, a strong link with the arts, with beauty. It’s one of the ways that we’re drawn to the divine.”

Elliott said that plans for the tower have already been met with excitement from the surrounding community. When meeting with neighbouring businesses and hotels about the project, he said he was “actually quite surprised by their enthusiasm for having a sound downtown that would bring people together, that would mark important things happening in the world, that would signal the beginning and end of the workday.”

Indeed, he went on to note that not one complaint was lodged about the building project in the weeks that the development permit was displayed in front of the cathedral. “It was completely supported by the city,” he said. “That says something.”

Elliott said that the bells will ring daily in the morning and evening, on Sundays and Christian feast days like Easter and Christmas, and to celebrate the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faith holidays, as well as civic celebrations.

But, as Elliott sees it, the purpose of the bells is best summed up by Joe Segal, a philanthropist and friend of the cathedral: “the bells will ring to let people know that God is alive in the city.”

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Anglican Journal News, April 10, 2015

Nigerian bishop to be the Anglican Communion’s next Secretary General

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon (centre) with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop James Tengatenga.
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By ACNS staff

The Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon has been appointed to be the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Dr Idowu-Fearon currently serves as Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation in the Church for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations.

He was selected out of an initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Since 1998 the Most Revd Dr Idowu-Fearon has been Bishop of Kaduna, and he is the current Director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre. Before that he served as Bishop of Sokoto, Warden at St Francis of Assisi Theological College in Wusasa, and Provost of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kaduna.

Responding to his appointment, Dr Idowu-Fearon said, “I am excited to take up the post of Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and to continue the fine work undertaken by my predecessors in this office.

“It is a privilege to be so honoured and recognised by the Communion for this leadership position. I look forward to serving the Anglican family with my future colleagues at the Anglican Communion Office and the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop James Tengatenga warmly welcomed the appointment saying, “I am delighted that Bishop Josiah has accepted the position. He will bring a vital new perspective on the Anglican Communion, its life and ministry. His experience and expertise in Christian-Muslim relations is particularly welcome at this time.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “I warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Josiah and look forward to working closely with him in the renewal of the Anglican Communion amidst the global challenges facing us today.”

The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon

The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon
Photo Credit:

Bishop Josiah has a PhD (Sociology) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Nigeria’s Ahmadu Bello University, an MA in Islamic Theology from the UK’s Birmingham University, and a BA in Theology from Durham University in the UK.

He has lectured and been published widely on the subject of Christian-Muslim relations. He serves on a variety of national inter-religious bodies and has previously worked with the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace on several projects.

Bishop Josiah has been awarded the Officer of the Order of the Niger, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Cross of St. Augustine’s Award, and is a Canterbury Six Preacher.

The person specification for the role of Secretary General indicated that the next incumbent should “assist the Communion to become even more faithful to, and engaged in, God’s mission of reconciliation.

“The successful candidate will be a committed Christian, a person of deep faith and prayer, a visionary ambassador for Christ and his Church, a bridge-builder to effect healing amongst the churches of the Anglican Communion, a creative and imaginative thinker, and an inspirational leader who will help to renew the witness and effectiveness of the Communion, its structures, and its programmes.”

Lay and clergy individuals from a member Church of the Anglican Communion were encouraged to apply.

Bishop Josiah, who is married to Comfort and has two children, Ibrahim and Ninma, is expected to take up the role in July 2015.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Daily Summary, April 02, 2015

“Tis The Spring of Souls Today”

Posted on: April 5th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Photo: Vianney (Sam) Carriere

 

Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate

In those first sights, sounds, and scents of Spring – the buds, the birds, and even the mud, I take great delight.  Glad to “spring ahead” for a few more hours of sunlight each day, I look forward to cleaning up the yard, turning over the garden and this year’s planting.  “All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres”.

I also so delight in those first sights, sounds and scents of Easter.

There can be no more wonderful sight at The Great Vigil than that sea of faces, diverse in age and culture, radiant with the light of resurrection glory.  Everyone has drawn fire from the Paschal Candle, it’s holy flame a beautiful sign of the word of The Risen Lord, “Behold, I was dead but now I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18).  The tapers they hold are a sign of the Lord’s promise, “Because I live you shall live also” (John 14:19).

There can be no greater sound than those first strains of alleluia and the great invitation

          “Rejoice O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The Risen Saviour shines upon you.
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!”

There can be no more lovely scent than the oil of chrism associated with baptism.  Buried with Christ in baptism and raised to new life, the candidates are signed with the cross and marked as his own for ever.  The oil used is charged with the scent of balsam.  The saying of the Fathers of the early Church is as relevant as ever – “The sweet fragrance of Christ lingers wherever the newly baptized go.”

These sights and sounds and scents of The Great Vigil give way then to those of Easter Day.  Thanks to so many who lovingly decorate our churches, they have about them a lovely garden like look and feel.  Spring flowers abound.  The cross is unveiled and the altar is vested in white.  Songs of “Alleluia” fill the air.

          “’Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days sleep in death
as a sun hath risen.” (Hymn #215, Common Praise)

Throughout the seven weeks of The Easter Festival we greet one another in the very manner of the early Church.

          “Alleluia!  Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia!”

This is how we gather for the liturgy.  It’s also I think how we should go out from the liturgy, out into the world as an Easter People, a people whose souls are experiencing a springtime, a budding and blossoming into new life.  Might the sights and sounds of our way of living charge the world with new hope.  Might the scent of our witness, however small or broad its sphere, be as a sweet fragrance in the garden where God has placed us.

May we never forget that the one who’s holy and life giving resurrection we celebrate is not only Lord of our personal lives, but the Lord of the Church, and indeed the Lord of the Cosmos.  He is as St. Paul writes, “the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation…  He himself is before all things and in him.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 04, 2015

Anglicans prepare to celebrate the Great Triduum

Posted on: April 3rd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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An image of Christ from the offices of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Marites N. Sison


This weekend, many of the world’s more than two billion Christians will celebrate one of the most important rites in the Christian calendar: Easter.

While Easter observances are as old as the Christian church itself, in traditional Anglican practice, the heart of the celebration is the Great Triduum, beginning on Maundy Thursday and lasting until Easter Sunday.

The Triduum has been observed in one form or another since the early centuries of Christianity, growing out of the Great Vigil on Holy Saturday to include Maundy Thursday (which commemorates the first eucharist and Jesus’ “mandate” to his disciples that they love one another other), Good Friday (which commemorates Jesus’ death on the cross), and Easter Sunday—which celebrates his resurrection.

These services are considered to be a continuation of each other, and so, unlike most liturgies in the Anglican rite, they do not end with a dismissal. The whole three days is considered “sacred time,” and when believers depart from the church, they are understood to be carrying the service out into the world around them.

Parishes that are more “high church” or Catholic in their devotional practices might include such traditions as the veneration of the host following the Maundy Thursday service, the kissing of the crucifix and the stripping of the altar; those who identify with more “low-church” forms of  Anglicanism might forego one or all of these practices.

Many parishes also place their Easter celebrations within the wider context of Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. At the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada, for example, there were noonday services each day, one of which featured a procession through the Stations of the Cross, an ancient form of devotion that leads participants through the passion narrative using 14 moments from Jesus’ last day.

But in addition to the liturgical celebration of Easter, Anglicans historically and in the present have understood Easter as a time to remember that Christ’s more radical social teachings are reflected in his death and resurrection. In medieval England, for example, it was common for monarchs to distribute gifts and money to the poor and to wash the feet of beggars at the Maundy Thursday service in imitation of Jesus, who washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper.

In Canada, Christians from many different denominations have incorporated social justice actions into their celebrations of Easter—Toronto, for example, hosts a Good Friday Walk for Justice, which begins at the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity and brings hundreds of people on an ecumenical pilgrimage across downtown Toronto to raise awareness about the struggles facing the homeless, migrants and Indigenous people in the city, and to pray for justice. This year’s gathering will feature an address by National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada executive director Kimberly Murray.

Easter, at its heart, is about the movement from death to life through the resurrection. For Christians in northern countries like Canada, which have such long and difficult winters, it is a reminder also that just as winter eventually passes away into spring, so, too, do the terrors of death give way to new life for the faithful.


Anglican Journal News, April 02, 2015